The knock on effect of the Coronavirus outbreak is still hitting all Hospices in the UK extremely hard.
As we know, hospices raise the bulk of their funding through support from their local communities. These include fundraising events, hospice charity shops, lotteries, legacies and investments.
In fact, 90% of the hospices who hold charity-run events and hospice charity shops state they were their most successful method of fundraising pre-2020.
However, as COVID-19 social distancing and shielding measures continue, hospice budgets have been stretched to their limits.
Shop closures and cancellation of indoor and outdoor events over the last year have meant that without more sustainable funding, many hospices fear they are unable to sustain the level of care needed in the longer term.
The impact of these closures and cancellations has been devastating for the whole sector, with some hospices losing out on millions of pounds in vital funding.
Not only does this affect their ability to provide quality care services, but continued disruption also makes it difficult for them to plan for the future.
As restrictions begin to ease, many of the hospices are hopeful of beginning to run annual or rescheduled events this year. Nearly 50% are looking to run more than 10 events in 2021 to generate the funding that they need.
However, following the governments roadmap announcement, it looks like they have plenty more hurdles to overcome. With many restrictions set to stay until the end of June 2021 or maybe longer, the planned events are looking likely to be delayed, held virtually or cancelled.
With charity shops closed for the majority of 2020, many community events and activities cancelled, hospices have had to get creative in how they fundraise.
For many of us, using digital platforms like Zoom has been a lifeline in being able to communicate with friends and family.
Hospices have had no choice but to turn to digital fundraising as their main method of raising money.
From social media campaigns to online quizzes and weekly lotteries, there has been fantastic support from the local communities in participating with these events.
Alongside virtual events, many hospices have received amazing support from their local communities, especially with individuals either making donations or raising money on their behalf.
They have baked, walked, sold raffle tickets, climbed their stairs, anything and everything you could imagine to try and replace the normal fundraising activity that would have been taking place.
In addition to the fantastic support from hospice supporters, there has also been funding from the government.
As part of the government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, the Department of Health and Social Care announced in November 2020 an additional £125 million funding for the hospices.
This funding allowed hospices to help relieve the pressure on the NHS through the hard winter months. It also enabled many to continue delivering their essential palliative and end of life care for patients, whether at home or in a hospice.
But sadly, for most hospices this is not enough to replace the loss of fundraised income.
Despite the Government’s £125m hospice funding pledge at the end of 2020, it is a small drop in the ocean compared to what is actually required.
Without a commitment to significantly increase levels of statutory funding to cover clinical costs for palliative care services, there is a serious risk of services being withdrawn.
So, what is needed to prevent this from happening?
On the back of their report into funding for palliative care services, Sue Ryder launched a campaign in March 2021 asking the Government to commit to covering 70% of the costs of hospice provision.
Instead of the 37% they are currently committed to funding, it would cost the Government an additional £313 million per year, or a total of £663 million per year.
The additional funding the hospice sector is asking for equates to just 0.5% of the total NHS budget, or an additional £500 per death.
With one in five hospices facing closure due to financial difficulties brought by COVID, action is needed sooner rather than later.
Please help us to help the Hospices by donating as much as you can.
For more information on Sue Ryders report click here: